M.T. Lopez de la Vieja

Universidad de Salamanca (SPAIN)
In 2012, the UNESCO stated how much the present educational environment is changing and how competitive it is. For this, the document recommended simulation models to develop strategies for education. These models could help to a better assessment of future circumstances and, especially, to take better decisions concerning education. In the eighties, K.H. Flechsig included simulation in the general catalogue of didactic models, since role playing and an artificial environment would be valid methods for teaching and learning. However, this kind of anticipatory learning could not be considered a standard methodology in Humanities where models like dialogue or frontal teaching have been more accepted. Simulation is usually linked to technology, computers; at the same time, it would open interesting possibilities for learning and teaching applied Ethics, including Bioethics.

In Bioethics, the case method is a widely accepted model, for several reasons. But the analysis of real cases has limits, since patients┬┤ rights and personal data have to be respected. National and international legislation are very explicit about protection of rights. In consequence, sometimes direct information is not available to discuss critical issues, but bioethical issues require debate, a right assessment of possible consequences and the balance of pros and cons. So, there are restrictions for teaching Bioethics; actual clinical cases are not accessible to public. There are two possible ways to approach relevant bioethical questions: hypothetical cases and simulation. Role playing could disclose the structure and requirements of practical deliberation in institutional contexts. How did an ethics committee approach difficult cases? The paper examines some possibilities of hypothetical cases and instructional simulation in Bioethics.